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Harley Vance Combs, the son of Harley Lester and Susie Swift Combs, was born March 2, 1925, in Redding, IA. He was joyfully welcomed to his heavenly home by his Savior, Jesus Christ, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Cape Girardeau.
He was educated in the public schools of Benton, Mount Ayr and Redding, IA. He graduated as salutatorian of the class of 1942 from Redding High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 and served aboard submarines in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He was very proud of his service to his country and was an active participant at the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI, where the USS Cobia (one of the boats on which he served) is dry docked and part of the museum tour. He attended many reunions of the Cobia crew and enriched the tours when he was there by sharing first-hand accounts of life on a submarine during wartime.
His principal career was with the Federal Aviation Administration in the Air Traffic Division. He retired from the Cape Girardeau Flight Service Station in 1987. Prior to joining the FAA, he had various other jobs, including working at his uncle’s hatchery, working on a railroad line and selling Singer sewing machines.
Vance was baptized into the Baptist faith in 1950 and maintained an active part in Baptist churches from that time until his death. He most recently was an active member at Lynwood Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau and a faithful member of the Band of Brothers (his Life Group).
He married the love of his life, Evelyn June Hunt, on April 23, 1950. To this union were born three children: Bonnie (Hal) Majors, Steve (Daphne Marler) Combs and Mary Jo (Doug) Grinnell.
He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, June Combs; his three children; 13 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; a brother Ed (June) Combs; and sisters, Lillie Ann Rinehart and Helen Combs.
Vance was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Sue Cole, Katherine Williams and Jeanie Beockman; and a grandson, Jacob Marshall Combs.
He was a self-educated man, wise, kind, principled and loving. His love for books, poetry and scholarly quests kept him happily consumed. He was a role model for many, especially his children and grandchildren. He served his family by preparing a Wednesday evening meal for many years, taking his grandchildren camping and many other selfless acts.
After his retirement, he faithfully served in the FISH food pantry, the Republican Committee and the Cape Girardeau Senior Center and he baked pies for the Celebrate Recovery program at their church every week.
A memorial service was held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 19 at the Lynwood Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau, with a visitation from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers and to honor this great man, please send any memorial gifts to the Cape Girardeau Senior Center, 921 N. Clark, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701.
Cremation services were entrusted to McCombs Funeral Home of Cape Girardeau.
To leave a memorial please go to and view Vance’s tribute wall.

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